Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2004 All Over Again

Another election, another round of sensationalistic media coverage. I'm not sure what scares me more -- the fact that the media must view Americans as mindless sheep, sure to flock to the nearest trough of ridiculous half-truths and sexified nonsense... or the fact that they may be right.

I don't blog much. I don't blog much because, to be honest, blogging strikes me as a supremely egotistical act, a willful decision that the Entire World needs to know the smallest, most trivial, most nose-pickingest details about my life and my inner thoughts and the drama of my tiny little existence. Because, no, it doesn't.

We used to live in a world of gatekeepers -- educated, erudite, learned members of society who could discern between the worthwhile and the worthless, the chaff and the wheat, the Dick York and the Dick Sargent. These people were given a massive responsibility -- to read the much and publish the few. And say what you will about specific exceptions, but on the whole I think this worked pretty damn well for a good long time.

Today is different, because Everybody is Special. It doesn't matter if you can barely read, much less write, because you have rights -- the right to a blog, and unlimited digital exposure. The right to say what you want, when you want, to whomever you want, without the slightest concern for content or value or, say, spelling. Warhol said "in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." Dig that man up and give him a cigar.

And frankly, that pisses me off a little. This isn't the Gong Show. I like the idea of proving yourself before showing your underpants to the world. I think that's a square deal.

Except, of course, that all the gatekeepers are dead. Those men and women standing guard? Look close. They wear the colors of our enemy, sensationalist reds and envious greens and the black, black stench of decay. There is no fourth estate in this country. They have fled like 5th century Romans from Hadrian's Wall. Truth is dead. Or if not dead, then at least being carried around on the shoulder of John Cleese.

So now I come, late as usual, to the conclusion everyone else reached about half a decade ago: blogs are all we got, huh? I mean, the media has left us to the sharks, hell, they're chumming the waters, and even if the majority of blogs are mindless rambling piles of zombie dung, they're still pretty much the only hope for getting truth from Here to There.

All this is a roundabout way of saying that MSNBC should be ashamed of itself for its poll today about Obama's so-called "lipstick on a pig" remark, as it frames the question in such a way as to discount the possibility that IT IS A COMPLETE NON-STORY. He was talking about McCain's economic policy. But McCain shouted fire and the media started filling buckets before they bothered sniffing the air for smoke.

So, if you see this, this little message in a bottle that I'm throwing into the big old information super-ocean, write MSNBC and scold them once more for me, would ya?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Lord Giveth, and the Lord Taketh Away...eth

Well, hot on the heels of my BLISTERING TRIUMPH that was my 3rd place finish in the NYCMidnight Screenwriter's Challenge, I received a rejection notice on a short story I had submitted for publication a couple weeks ago. It was a lighthearted sci-fi tale that was clearly both:

A: Too awesome for publication


B: Dangerously ahead of its time.

Now, I'm no Garth Merenghi, but I humbly submit that this story, this REJECTED story, is the single greatest achievement in human literature since the original, unrated version of the Old Testament. In fact, I'm going beyond that, because this was clearly the pinnacle of all human achievement, period.

You know what? Fuck it. You starfish and paramecium and zebras feel so fucking smug because I didn't include you in the above statement? Well stop smiling, you monochromatic equestrian rejects, (that was directed at the zebras -- paramecium and starfish... you'll get yours next time) I'm calling you out.

I challenge, nay, dare, I DARE any non-human species, be it mammalian, fungal, vegetable, mythical, mytho-vegetable, WHATEVER -- I DARE you to write anything even approaching the level of quality of the story that was so coldly rejected by the so-called editor of the so-called magazine to which I so-called submitted. Let's see you do it. Let's see. Let's. Go ahead. I'll wait. I'm waiting.

Because, I didn't... I didn't even want to submit my story. I was doing you people a favor. A nice favor. For free (except for the honorarium).

But you know what? Fine. That's what. It's fine. It's all fine. I'll just sit here, radiating brilliance like some Apollonian love child, and you just reject my work. Because I don't even like you anymore. And I don't need you or your big dumb magazine, and I'm not crying, I'm just being brilliant, and brilliant people's eyes sweat when they're being brilliant, because it's hard work being brilliant, except for me, because it's easy for me, but I make my eyes sweat anyway because I don't want other people to feel bad because of how brilliant I am. So shut up!

Currently Listening to: I'm not listening to anything. Music is dumb. Leave me alone.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I am (two spaces removed from) the Champion, my fri-ends!

Hey, there. For what it's worth, I took third place in the latest round of the NYCMidnight annual Screenwriter's Challenge.

What is the NYCMidnight Screenwriter's Challenge, you ask?

Well I'm so glad you asked!

Here's the deal. You sign up, and then, they give you a Genre and a Topic. For instance, my Genre for the first round was "Drama," and my topic was "An order."

Now, you get a fair amount of leeway on how you interpret your genre and topic. Drama is drama, but you can have elements of suspense, horror, comedy, romance, action, etc. As long as it's drama-ish, you're good.

In terms of Topic, you can pretty much run around naked and crazy with it. "An Order," hmmm? Maybe a court order. Or a military order. Or an order of pizza. Or an order of monks. Or an order from a military court to an order of monks to put a bunch of pizza orders in alphabetical order. And so forth.

So, as I said, first round: Drama/An Order. The goal is to write a single short script of 15 pages or less. The twist is that you get exactly one week to do this, with the deadline falling at midnight, NYC time (hence the name of the contest) on the seventh day.

I'd love to know what percentage waited until about, ohhhhhh, day 6 and a half to get started. Not that I would do such a thing. Actually, I didn't do too badly with my procrastination-prone self. I think I finally started writing on day five. But until then, I was... thinking. Yeah. Thinking.

Actually, the funny thing is that I had an idea that I had been chewing on for the first five days, but then, day five, BAM! Something else just kinda swooped in and I thought "Well that's WAY better!" and I sat down and wrote it out in pretty much one long sit.

The basic idea of the story was that a son living on the west coast orders last-minute flowers for his mom's birthday. He's kinduva jerk, so the bouquet he sends isn't exactly awe-inspiring. Back in rural Pennsylvania, the mother receives the flowers, but the gift ends up paling in comparison to the friendship she strikes up with the very nice gentlemen florist who brings them to her.

So, I wrote, and I ended up taking second place in that first heat, which was good enough to advance me to the final round.

The final round is similar, but different. Just like the first round, writers get a genre and topic. This time, it was "Suspense" and "A Birth."

What's different is that for the final round, you get only a single day to write your 1-15 page script. This is... um... less time.

Again, though, I followed a similar pattern. I had an idea all worked out in my head, then went to bed, intent on committing it to paper after I'd slept on it. But as soon as the lights were out, another idea popped into my head, and I jumped up and grabbed a notebook and scribbled down some ideas. And those scribbles ended up being the story I wrote.

So, anyway, I found out yesterday that my final round script had received third prize. I have no doubt that Hollywood will be beating a path to my door. Annnnnny minute now.

Mayyyyyybe... NOW.

Or... now.


Where the hell are those guys?

Currently Listening to: "False Horizon" by Mountain Con.
Seriously, it's been on an endless loop on my iPod all day. I dare anyone to listen to it without getting hooked.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oh, jesus. Seriously?

Another blog?

Another ridiculous soul-bearing, bellybutton-examining, dirty laundry-airing, daddy-love-me fest masquerading as some poor sucker's attempt to assert the illusion of his significance by lighting his own tiny little candle on the surface of the sun?

One of them things?

Good christ jesus lord mother mary mercy god in heaven. Spare . Us.

Assuming there's an us to spare. Which, y'know, there probably isn't.


But someday, I'll be famous, and everyone will love me. Or maybe fear me. Hey, maybe both. Even Machiavelli thought that was a good idea.

Jeez, I'm rambling. Am I rambling? I'm rambling, aren't I? Is this thing even recording? Am I on the Internet? Is this the... is this the Internet? Is this where they keep the Amazon my kids are always talking about? And the FaceBook? Where's the FaceBook, anyways? I wanna sign it. With... y'know... my face.

I think I'm done now. This is a little like my first time snorkling, or it would be if I had been snorkling naked in front of a room full of strangers. Which I wasn't, thank you.

But still, I feel dirty. Or, I feel like I should be dirty. People like dirty, right?

Hell yes they do! This is America! We have entire television networks dedicated to the spectacle of people debasing themselves for a twenty bucks and a cameo on Veronica Mars.


I think they're... yeah, they're... that's the signal. They're giving me the signal. Line across the throat. I guess I'm done now.

Well. I think that went quite well. I think the people were heartwarmed. I think their cockles got a good warming-over, like those breakfast sandwiches they used to serve at Starbucks.

The people, they liked it. They feel good. They smile. My people smile. My people out there, my people -- fans maybe? My fans? Adherents? Followers? Disciples? Cult? My cult?

My cult, they love me. They feel a sense of warmth and peace and well-being and every-little-thing's-gonna-be-all-rightness, minus the zombie attack (aw hell no.)

This blog stuff is easy.

When do the checks start coming in?